Guwahati: Nearly a quarter of Assam s electorate on Monday voted in the first four hours of the first round of assembly elections to pick 65 legislators, officials said. About 23 percentage of the 9.5 million voters had exercised their franchise from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., the officials said.
The 65 constituencies which saw polling on Monday are mainly located in the tea belt areas, north of the Brahmaputra river and in the Barak Valley of Assam. They include three seats reserved for Dalits and 10 for tribals.
"The polling has been peaceful," Additional Chief Electoral Officer Nitin Khade told IANS. The second and final round of the election to pick a 126-member Assam assembly will take place on April 11.
Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi s Titabar constituency voted on Monday. He urged people to vote in large numbers. "The resilience of our democratic polity will be in evidence once again as people come out to exercise their right to vote," Gogoi told the media after casting his vote.
The fate of Bharatiya Janata Party s chief ministerial candidate Sarbananda Sonowal, who is seeking election from Majuli, will be decided on Monday too. Sonowal said the BJP would win a majority of the seats in the first phase. "We can see that people are craving for a change in the state. I hope they will vote for us for a change," he said outside a polling station at Gormur in Majuli.
On Monday, there are 539 candidates, 95,11,732 registered voters and 12,190 polling stations spread across 17 districts. Of the 12,190, 78 are all-women polling stations -- overseen only by women officials. There are also 134 "model" polling stations which have a medical team and an eatery and where the elder voter will be felicitated in a traditional manner. The eldest voter will also plant a tree.